Austin dreaming of future England call-up

QPR striker Charlie Austin is hoping to emulate Southampton’s Rickie Lambert and earn an England call-up by making an impact in the Premier League. 

Austin, whose 17 Championship goals helped his team win promotion, was playing for non-League Poole Town less than five years ago.

His rise has been a meteoric one and Rangers manager Harry Redknapp has made no secret of the fact he believes the 24-year-old could eventually force his way into the international reckoning.

“I’m still looking to improve my all-round game… I’m going into the best league in the world now and need to give 100% in everything I do.” – Charlie Austin

Lambert, recently named in England’s World Cup squad, also worked his way up the football ladder, turning out for Macclesfield, Stockport, Rochdale and Bristol Rovers before helping Southampton reach the top flight.

And Austin, eight years younger than the Saints target man, is hoping to follow in his footsteps.

“Definitely. He’s come up through the leagues as well, to the Championship and then the Premier League,” Austin told West London Sport.

“It would be great to emulate him. But to do that I’d have to do what he did first. He did it in the Premier League and then as an international striker.

“I’m still looking to improve my all-round game. You can never stop learning and improving; my heading, link-up play – everything,

“There’s always room for improvement. I’m going into the best league in the world now and need to give 100% in everything I do.

“I always give 100% in training and to the team, to help the club as much as I can. And I’m lucky enough to have the knack of being in the right place to score goals.”

Austin demonstrated that knack when he scored an extra-time winner against Wigan to take Rangers through to the play-off final against Derby on Saturday, when Bobby Zamora’s last-gasp goal clinched a dramatic victory.

It meant a first win at Wembley for QPR since 1967 and a return to the Premier League a year after the club suffered a humiliating relegation despite massive spending on several high-profile players.

Austin models QPR's new kits along with Joey Barton and Nedum Onuoha
Austin models QPR’s new kits along with Joey Barton and Nedum Onuoha

“It’s not really sunk in, if I’m honest – not properly,” Austin admitted.

“People talk about 1967 and I’ve even heard people say that Saturday was better. It’s mad to think that we’ve made QPR history in that way. It’s just unbelievable.

“Hopefully now the club can stay in the Premier League, which is where we want to be, and in years to come people will look back on that day at Wembley when we were down to 10 men with half an hour to go and Bobby scored in the last minute.

“To be involved in that part of the club’s history is just fantastic. And I really believe that if we keep the same togetherness that we’ve got at the club then we’re going to do well next year.

“People talk about the players who were here last year before I was here and what happened then, but in my case playing for QPR means a lot to me.

“Coming here was a big opportunity for me and my aim was to get promoted, which we’ve done.”

Charlie Austin was speaking at the QPR kit launch at Nike Phenomenal House, at the Sorting Office, New Oxford Street, London. Nike Phenomenal House is a week-long celebration of the lifestyle of football, open until 31 May.

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